Welcome to our Community Voices page showcasing community stories and related news articles. The stories contain actual experiences with racial covenants in Marin and how they have affected the lives of residents. The articles are from news outlets and contain insight on how racial inequality has affected and continues to affect Marin.
The items displayed below are color-coded according to type:
News: The Sausalito City Council is still grappling with whether to include language regarding racial covenants in an official document cataloging the city’s history.
During the meeting, Sausalito resident Kristen Wolslegel read an excerpt from an exclusionary racial housing covenant that existed in her neighborhood.
The excerpt said that none of the properties was allowed to be sold to anyone who was not White, and anyone who was not White could only live in the area as a servant or employee of a White occupant, it said.
News: This year, Marin City is marking 80 years since it was born as labor housing for workers who flooded the area in 1942 to build military ships in the nearby Marinship operation on Sausalito's bay front. The area swelled with life as thousands of Blacks left the segregationist South for jobs in the shipyard, helping to turn out some 90 Liberty Ships and tankers in just several years.
But Felecia Gaston believes time has turned its back on that chapter of Marin City's history — the plight of African Americans who were left stranded without jobs or opportunities when the war ended and the shipyards closed in 1945.
When Sleepy Hollow resident Lezley Blair first moved to the neighborhood in 2013, she didn't yet know that her new home was, like many others in the area (see Marin County Recorder's interactive map here: Restrictive Covenants Time Progression, a site with historic discriminatory language that persisted into the present.
Beginning in 1934, the use of racially restrictive covenants was encouraged by the Federal Housing Authority to prohibit the inclusion of people of color in the housing market and predominantly white areas.
"Story: When we (a white family) first moved to Marin from New York City in 2011 and were fortunate to buy a small house in Santa Venetia, I was horrified to find among the title documents an original racist covenant for the neighborhood, dated 1940. It came with a disclaimer noting that such covenants are now illegal and unenforceable, but that did little to mitigate my naive and profound shock. The document stipulated that no home built on the land of this subdivision should be "in any manner used or occupied by Asiatics or Negroes, except that persons of such races may be employed as servants."